Damascus, SANA – A mass held in honor of the victims of the genocide which the Ottomans perpetrated against Armenian people a hundred years ago has started at the Armenian Orthodox St. Sarkis Church in Damascus.
Father Hai Ari Tnascian affirmed that the Armenian people were subjected to a racist genocide by the Ottomans in an attempt to eliminate the Armenian people and erase their historical, cultural and national heritage.
He said the commemoration of the occasion in Damascus carries an additional meaning “because this land was the sanctuary, shelter and salvation for Armenians, and the Syrian people were brothers and protectors for those who survived the genocide.”
“Syria, for Armenians, became equivalent to resurrection and life, because it was the bridge from death to life that our ancestors crossed,” Father Tnascian pointed out.
Tnascian demanded that all countries acknowledge and condemn the Armenian genocide, calling for holding Turkey to account and not allowing the Turkish state to “get away with it.”
Christian clergymen and the Armenian Ambassador in Damascus participated in the mass.
Another mass to pay tribute to the martyrs of the genocide was held at “Sultana of the World” Armenian Catholic church in Bab Touma, Damascus.
Catholic Armenian Bishop of Damascus Joseph Arnaouti said that the victims of the genocide committed by Ottomans were slaughtered for their nationality and for their commitment to Christ, adding that had the Ottoman criminals who committed this crime been held accountable, then such massacres wouldn’t have reoccurred throughout history.
Arnaouti demanded the international community acknowledge and condemn the genocide and ensure that no peaceful people would ever fall victims to such atrocities.
Earlier on Thursday, a prayer was held at the Archbishopric of the Dioceses of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Old Damascus city commemorating the anniversary.
A minute of silence was observed and flowers were laid on the Tomb of the Armenian Martyrs in the Archbishopric’s yard.
Prayer in Aleppo
A prayer was held at the Armenian Evangelical Bethel Church in al-Suleimaniyeh neighborhood in Aleppo city commemorating the 100th anniversary of an Ottoman massacre of up to 1.5 million Armenians.
Head of the Armenian Protestant sect in Syria Pastor Haroun Suleiman bemoaned the colossal human tragedy that befell the Armenian people at the hands of Ottomans a hundred years ago in what he described as “the biggest massacre that saw up to 1.5 Armenians mowed down.”
He said the Armenians who came to Syria in the aftermath of the genocide were greeted with love and welcome by the Syrians, with the Armenian-Syrian relations growing stronger.
“A hundred years on, the new Ottomans, descendants of the Armenian genocide perpetrators are still harboring dreams of establishing their own state,” Suleiman added, citing the Turkish role in the war against Syria as a proof.
For his part, Aleppo Governor Mohammad Marwan Olabi said the sad occasion is an “opportunity to reflect on the suffering and killing visited upon the Armenians by Ottoman sultans,” indicating that the Syrians who embraced the early Armenian arrivals who survived the genocide “proved the fraternity and social relations that came to be established between them.”
The governor expressed trust that the Syrian people are headed for a decisive victory thanks to their unity and the sacrifices of martyrs.
Bells tolled a hundred times in Armenian churches in Syria, coinciding with the concluding part of the national Armenian ceremony held in Armenian that was broadcast live on Syrian TV channels.